08:25AM | 05/26/12
Member Since: 12/15/02
33 lifetime posts
Yesterday I began the process of power-washing my front stoop, which hasn't been cleaned in 4 years... lots of grime on both the railing (which is painted PVC) and the deck itself (which is unstained ipe). I got finished with less than 1/3 of the job before having trouble with the power washer, now being fixed.

I'm concerned, though, that I might have damaged the ipe through power washing. This morning, as it dries, sections seem like they're whitish -- almost the effect you'd get from brick which was leaching lime. When wet, the ipe is its beautiful reddish color. But now that it dries, I have to wonder whether I've done some damage, and if so how to address it.

Given the hardness of ipe, and given the fact that was red when installed -- unvarnished or stained, as I mentioned above -- I'm also somewhat doubtful this is damage from the power washer. But what could it be? I'm confused... help!


06:49PM | 05/26/12
Member Since: 12/15/02
33 lifetime posts
For what it's worth, here's a photo of the deck. You can see the "unwashed" section to the left to see the difference the power washer has made.


11:21AM | 05/27/12
Member Since: 07/22/04
511 lifetime posts
Unless there are gouges in the wood from the pressure washer then there is no damage. It just needs to be resealed with a good quality sealer. After you seal it,it should look as it does when it is wet. Make sure you test it first in an inconspicuous area to be sure but I think you'll be OK.


12:51PM | 05/28/12
Member Since: 12/15/02
33 lifetime posts
I agree a sealer would improve the looks (thanks, LarryG, for reassuring me I haven't damaged the ipe), but isn't ipe particularly resistant to either sealing or oiling? It's such a hard wood that it's not porous enough to soak up the seal/oil, so that would need to be reapplied every year, wouldn't it? I've heard, from example, that one should never apply stain to ipe (not that we want to). I don't want to create a maintenance headache...

Bonaire Rob

07:21PM | 05/31/12
Member Since: 05/31/12
1 lifetime posts
The same thing just happened to me. My ipe deck had grayed over the last 3 years, but had some evidence of a green mildew. So I power-washed the deck to attack the green stuff. When the ipe dried, I was surprised that there were white streaks throughout the entire deck, with intermittent patches of nice dark ipe.
There were no scratches or other evidence of "over power washing" (although my power washer is rated at 3000 psi!). A contractor friend tells me the ipe is so dense that the power washing didn't remove all of the grey. Suggestion is to either power wash more to remove remaining grey, or belt sand (after testing, of course). I'm choosing the other option of letting the entire deck return to grey! Good luck!


09:21PM | 05/31/12
Member Since: 12/15/02
33 lifetime posts
On another discussion board, the advice I got was to either let the boards weather back to their grey color or, if it's driving me nuts, to try a 2-part cleaner/brightener system for hardwoods (Messmers and Woodrich make them, apparently). Has anybody tried these systems? If so, do they need to be professionally applied, or not... and how long does their effect last?


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